Bhopal: "MP gajab hai'...You've
heard that touristy catchphrase saying Madhya Pradesh is truly
amazing! But the slogan acquires a new meaning in the light of
startling revelations about corrupt government staffers who are
turning out to have amassed unaccounted wealth worth crores of
In 2011, the state anti-corruption wing unearthed assets running
into crores from many government employees, from peons to clerks
to engineers. The assets include cash, jewellery, land,
farmhouses, luxury cars and others.
This included the recovery of Rs.12 crore from a peon in the
Ujjain Municipal Corporation and Rs.30 crore from a clerk in the
Road Transport Office (RTO), Indore. The raids continue this year
as well, with the first two weeks of 2012 netting seven officials
worth many millions.
However, activists like Ajay Dubey, a member of Transparency
International, say agencies have yet to act against higher
officials and ministers who have cases pending before the
Lokayukta and the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
"As of now, raids are being conducted only against the small fish
and the big ones are going free. Here, IAS officials are holding
private dinner parties on public money and there are corruption
charges against cabinet ministers, but no action is being taken,"
Dubey told IANS.
According to Madhya Pradesh Lokyukta office records, the
department had unearthed assets worth some Rs.100 crore from 63
officials in the last two years.
Not only that. Only a fraction of these officials have been
suspended - most continue to hold their posts while their
respective departments are conducting inquiries.
In 2010, the Lokayukta had raided 25 officials' premises and
recovered illegal property worth Rs.24 crore, while in 2011, it
snooped down on the premises of 38 officials and unearthed assets
amounting to around Rs.75 crore.
The trend first hit the headlines in February 2010 when the
premises of high-profile Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
officers Arvind and Tinu Joshi here were raided. The couple were
found with Rs.3 crore in cash and owning assets worth around
"IAS couple Tinu and Arvind Joshi were blue-eyed officials of the
Madhya Pradesh government and one can estimate the level of
corruption in the state if this is the case with these two
officials. The anti-corruption wing got many complaints and had to
act as corruption has spread everywhere, from top to bottom,"
economic analyst Rajendra Kothari told IANS.
Dubey said: "Except Arvind and Tinu Joshi, no raid was conducted
on higher officials. The reality is harsher than what is surfacing
Not surprisingly, the matter has taken political overtones.
"The 'swarnim' (golden) Madhya Pradesh of (Chief Minister) Shivraj
Singh Chouhan is actually the most corrupt state in country," said
B.K. Hariprasad, Congress general secretary in charge of Madhya
However, Home Minister Uma Shankar Gupta defends the Lokayukta and
EOW for not netting the big fish.
"Such agencies can act only on concrete information, and it has
nothing to do with positions. The raids are proof that the state
is tough in dealing with corrupt officials," said Gupta.
(Shahnawaz Akhtar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)